Saturday, April 16, 2016

After a spring snowfall... M3

Messier 3

Well, we do live in the high desert and so after a few very warm days... we had a very cold one... with snow! So I felt it was appropriate to photograph a stellar snowball, Messier 3, a globular star cluster last night.

Here is some info on this star cluster (from Wikipedia):

Messier 3 (also known as M3 or NGC 5272) is a globular cluster of stars in the northern constellation of Canes Venatici. It was discovered by Charles Messier on May 3, 1764, and resolved into stars by William Herschel around 1784. Since then, it has become one of the best-studied globular clusters. Many amateur astronomers consider it one of the finest northern globular clusters, following only Messier 13. This cluster is one of the largest and brightest, and is made up of around 500,000 stars. It is estimated to be 8 billion years old. It is located at a distance of about 33,900 light-years away from Earth.

About my photograph of M3:
  • It was a "first" since moving my NexStar 8iSE telescope from it's original alt/az mount to my Meade LXD-75 goto mount (GEM) and mounting my Canon t3i DSLR camera body to the scope with the Celestron focal reducer (f/6.3)
  • This is the result of about 25 shots @ 30 secs each, stacked in DeepSkyStacker Live. 
  • I broadcasted my work live on Night Skies Networks and enjoyed chatting with my astro friends all around the world, like Simon in Africa, Mark in New Zealand, Alistair in the British Isles. 
  • I would have taken more "subs" but I noticed that the front lens of the scope had frosted over so it was time to end this session. It does get cold here!  I just have to get a telescope dew heater for this scope so I can have longer sessions. This heater band is strapped around the front end of the scope and produces just enough heat to keep the front lens element from frosting.

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